Mystic barge to leave river in spring

(WTNH/Tina Detelj)

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — The Mystic barge has been a part of the river for generations, but now it is becoming a hazard. News 8’s Tina Detelj has the story.

It is not difficult to see why this barge has become such a big concern. There is a sprocket down there, but the real concerns are the huge spikes and the pieces of wood that keep breaking off and floating into the river.

Frances Hoffman is president of Clean Up Sound and Harbors (CUSH) and it was during their clean-ups that volunteers noticed pieces of the barge floating along the river and into the path of boats and the high school crew team.

“This stuff is bumping into them. It’s very dangerous and anyone with a motor on their boat these are very thick hand wrought iron spikes,” said Hoffman.

(WTNH/Tina Detelj)
(WTNH/Tina Detelj)

The barge would not budge and so the quest began to find out more information about it.

“It was built before World War I. It spent some time in New London,” said Hoffman.

It then came to Mystic where it was used as a breakwater and part of a riverfront property for about fifty years, but now it may be time for it to go. This might be easier said than done.

“We found out we had to get a permit. That it has to be cut off it can’t just be pulled up,” said Hoffman.

After two years of research and raising money, volunteers will rid the river of this navigational hazard in the spring. It will be a bittersweet bon voyage to a piece of Mystic River history.

“I’ll be happy to see it go just because I know I know what’s doing right now and I know it’s just going to get worse,” said Hoffman.

Of biggest concern are the pieces that are underwater where  boaters and kayakers might not see them until it is too late.


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